The Blizzard of 2016. Dad and I watch the news reports and talk on the phone to Jamie and Casey. You had the food, the wine, the beer, the chocolate, candles, flashlights and batteries. You were all prepared. Your girl scout training and wonderful parents and grandmother taught you well.
The storm arrived much earlier in DC, but Casey left early and takes trains, so I was not worried. Chris was the only concern. Fortunately the brunt of this storm named Jonas was happening on a weekend. The stories compared this to the Blizzard of ’96. I remember it well.
That storm began very early on Sunday, so I took the three of you to church and sent Dad out with a grocery list. Everyone who was not at church was at Shop-Rite. Dad, undaunted by the large lines, tried to complete his mission before we returned from Mass. With lines snaking around the store from the cashiers back to frozen food, he made an executive decision to abandon his cart and go elsewhere. Bye-bye Shop Rite and hello Quick Chek. It was a risk he was willing to take.
It took ingenuity to complete his assignment, but Dad was up for the challenge. While he could not find bread on the shelves, he was able to find a substitute—hamburger rolls. No oatmeal, but they had oatmeal cookies. You get the idea. I think I was impressed by his resourcefulness.
As he looked around him, he saw familiar faces. They were not friends or neighbors, but rather, other ingenious folks like him who had also left Shop-Rite for the aisles of Quick Chek.
When the storm was over, we had more than two feet of snow. School was closed for a week, and thank goodness Margaret and George were living next to us by then. You had playmates, and I remember thinking, “I have another woman to help me maintain my sanity during that very, very long week.”
I learned to be more prepared in the future. The following year, my 1997 kitchen pantry closet was brimming with canned soup, mac and cheese, and Parmalat, which was milk in a carton with a shelf life of six months. I know it’s kind of creepy but the rationale for me was that it would only be used in a natural disaster, like a hurricane or a blizzard. When 1997 turned into a bust of a winter blizzard-wise, I opened the container and decided I would rather have the powdered milk of my childhood than super-heated long shelf-life milk.
So what this storm has confirmed to me is that I just can’t do that snow anymore. I just can’t! But with most of my family choosing to live there, I can’t put the worry behind me. It’s a mother and a family thing.